Zacks: Analysts Anticipate Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) to Post $2.28 EPS

Equities analysts predict that Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) will announce $2.28 earnings per share for the current quarter, Zacks reports. Ten analysts have issued estimates for Microsoft’s earnings, with estimates ranging from $2.17 to $2.33. Microsoft posted earnings of $2.03 per share in the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 12.3%. The company is scheduled to issue its next quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, January 25th.

On average, analysts expect that Microsoft will report full year earnings of $9.16 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $8.50 to $9.52. For the next financial year, analysts anticipate that the business will post earnings of $10.17 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $9.10 to $10.87. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that that provide coverage for Microsoft.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) last released its earnings results on Monday, October 25th. The software giant reported $2.27 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.08 by $0.19. Microsoft had a net margin of 38.51% and a return on equity of 45.80%. The business had revenue of $45.32 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $44 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.82 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 22.0% on a year-over-year basis.

MSFT has been the subject of several analyst reports. Tigress Financial reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $366.00 target price (up from $303.00) on shares of Microsoft in a research note on Friday, September 17th. The Goldman Sachs Group lifted their price objective on shares of Microsoft from $360.00 to $400.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 27th. Wells Fargo & Company began coverage on shares of Microsoft in a research report on Monday. They set an “overweight” rating and a $400.00 price objective for the company. Griffin Securities lifted their price objective on shares of Microsoft from $290.00 to $345.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 28th. Finally, Fundamental Research lifted their price objective on shares of Microsoft from $281.78 to $299.93 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday. One research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating, thirty-three have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. According to data from MarketBeat, the stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $347.85.

NASDAQ:MSFT opened at $337.91 on Monday. Microsoft has a 1-year low of $209.11 and a 1-year high of $349.67. The company has a current ratio of 2.16, a quick ratio of 2.12 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33. The firm has a fifty day simple moving average of $313.32 and a 200 day simple moving average of $288.66. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.54 trillion, a PE ratio of 37.80, a P/E/G ratio of 3.11 and a beta of 0.86.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 9th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 18th will be paid a dividend of $0.62 per share. This is an increase from Microsoft’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 17th. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.73%. Microsoft’s payout ratio is presently 27.74%.

Microsoft declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback program on Tuesday, September 14th that allows the company to buyback $60.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the software giant to reacquire up to 2.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, CMO Christopher C. Capossela sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $298.82, for a total transaction of $2,988,200.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Kathleen T. Hogan sold 20,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $298.68, for a total value of $5,973,600.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 694,622 shares of company stock valued at $230,826,252. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MSFT. Amundi bought a new position in Microsoft in the 2nd quarter worth about $6,689,996,000. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD grew its position in shares of Microsoft by 7.6% in the 2nd quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 192,408,922 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $52,123,577,000 after buying an additional 13,584,306 shares during the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC boosted its position in shares of Microsoft by 1,106.1% during the third quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 11,520,216 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $3,247,779,000 after purchasing an additional 12,665,264 shares in the last quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB boosted its position in shares of Microsoft by 97.9% during the third quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 21,921,340 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $6,277,833,000 after purchasing an additional 10,842,148 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its stake in Microsoft by 337.3% during the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 12,170,156 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $3,296,895,000 after buying an additional 9,387,405 shares during the last quarter. 69.05% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Microsoft

Microsoft Corp. engages in the development and support of software, services, devices, and solutions. It operates through the following business segments: Productivity and Business Processes; Intelligent Cloud; and More Personal Computing. The Productivity and Business Processes segment comprises products and services in the portfolio of productivity, communication, and information services of the company spanning a variety of devices and platform.

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